What You Should Know To Protect Your Eye Health And Vision
This article expands on March 1, 2022 write-up about your eyes’ vision, health, and eye safety. It will provide an extensive dive into what you can do to protect and save your eyes’ health and vision. Many people assume that because they have good visual awareness, and can see well, conclude that they have healthy eyes. This sometimes can be far from the truth. Vision Health reports that approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision disorders. One million are blind, 3 million have vision loss after correction, and 8 million have vision loss due to uncorrected refractive error. Approximately 11 million Americans, 12 years of age and older, can see better if they leverage corrective lenses, or eye surgery, if appropriate. There are approximately forty million Americans that are at risk for vision loss that could result in total blindness.
The CDC States That:
- Although older adults tend to have more vision problems, preschoolers may not see as well as they can.
- Just 1 out of every 7 preschoolers receive an eye exam, and fewer than 1 out of every 4 receive some type of vision screening.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children aged 3 to 5 years to find conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, which can be treated effectively if caught early.
You must take care of your eyes because there are benefits for your overall health. People with vision problems may have/experience the following:
- Poor hearing
- Heart problems
- Poor hearing
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Lower back pain and strokes are more likely to have vision problems.
Approximately 54.2% of people aged 65 and older are blind and 41.7% of those with vision loss say their overall health is fair or poor. Only 21.5% of older Americans without vision problems reported fair to poor health (Source: CDC).
WebMD Guidelines On How To Take Care Of Your Eyes:
Eat healthy foods like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients might help defend against age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Other foods to support healthy vision are:
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, collards
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
- Oysters and pork
Smoking increases your chances of getting cataracts, optic nerve damage, macular degeneration, and many other medical problems. Focus and visualize the benefit of kicking the habit, and having healthy eyes and good vision.
When selecting a pair of glasses make sure that the blocks are 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Lenses that wrap around protect your eyes from the side and polarized lenses reduce glare while driving.
Contact lenses provide some UV protection and wearing sunglasses will provide an extra layer of protection.
Use Safety Eyewear
Always use safety eyewear when using hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles.
Wear eye protection when playing sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse. Sports helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will protect your eyes.
Looking at a computer or phone screen for an extended period will cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
What You Can Do To Protect Your Eyes:
- Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and good for looking at a computer screen.
- If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your eyes are dry, blink more or try using artificial tears.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Make sure that you and your family see your eye doctor yearly for a comprehensive eye exam. This approach is proactive and could provide insights on potential issues.
Depending on the doctor, you will receive information/recommendations specific to your eye health (Source, WebMD):
- An Ophthalmologist: Medical doctors specialize in eye care, and provide general eye care, treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery.
- An Optometrist: Provide general eye care and can diagnose treat most eye diseases. They usually have 4 years of expert training after college. However, they don’t do eye surgery.
- May recommend a comprehensive eye exam that might include:
- A conversation about your family medical history
- Vision tests to see if you’re nearsighted, farsighted, have astigmatism (a curved cornea that blurs vision), or presbyopia (age-related vision changes)
- Tests to see how well your eyes work together
- Eye pressure and optic nerve tests to check for glaucoma
- External and microscopic examination of your eyes before and after dilation
Contact us immediately if you believe you are suffering from vision loss or would like to know more about your eyes’ health and vision.